State v. Paredes
When the primary purpose of videotaped statements is to receive a medical diagnosis or treatment, not future criminal prosecution, the confrontation clause is not implicated. Following a jury trial, Jesse Paredes was convicted of counts of sexual assault in the second degree and risk of injury to a child in connection with claims made by a 13 year old girl living in a residential treatment center where Paredes worked. Paredes appealed claiming that the court improperly failed to order an adequate remedy for inadmissible hearsay and improperly admitted into evidence a videotaped interview of the victim. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant argued that, in violation of his right to due process, the court failed to order a mistrial when a witness reported inadmissible hearsay by the victim. Paredes sought review of his unpreserved claim under the 1989 Connecticut Supreme Court case of State v. Golding and the plain error doctrine. The testimony, by another employee at the treatment center, included a statement that the victim started screaming "…Jesse raped me last night." The defendant objected and asked that the testimony be stricken but did not request a mistrial. The trial court relayed the curative instruction it intended to give and defense counsel requested that the instruction include a recitation of the objectionable testimony. The court gave the instruction as defense counsel requested. The defendant's claim was found waived. Thus, the Appellate Court declined review or to reverse his conviction based on the plain error rule. The defendant also raised an unpreserved claim that the court violated his right to confrontation and the 2004 U.S. Supreme Court case of Crawford v. Washington by admitting a video containing testimonial hearsay of the victim regarding the sexual assault. The claim was not of constitutional magnitude and the Appellate Court declined Golding review. The victim testified at trial and the defendant had an opportunity to cross-examine her. As explained in Crawford, "when the declarant appears for cross-examination at trial, the Confrontation Clause places no constraints at all on the use of his prior testimonial statements." Further, the victim's videotaped interview was part of a diagnostic procedure in the chain of treatment that was reviewed by physicians to recommend treatment for the victim. Thus, the confrontation clause was not implicated.